Orthodox Sacred Music Reference Library

The Russian Choral Heritage Foundation

The Orthodox Sacred Music Reference Library is a project of the Russian Choral Heritage Foundation, a not-for-profit organization whose primary mission and goal is the preservation and cultivation of the Russian sacred choral tradition. Its current Research Director is Dr. Vladimir Morosan, a Russian-American choral musician and scholar, who is one of the leading experts in the field of Russian choral music.

The Russian Choral Heritage Foundation began its existence as the Russian Choral Society, a performing organization founded in the 1970s by Basil F. Joukov and Vladimir P. Roudenko, in the New York area, for the purpose of cultivating and disseminating the knowledge and appreciation of Russian sacred choral music—a tradition that was severely suppressed in the country of its origins, beginning in the 1920s.

In the 1970s and 1980s, the choir of the Russian Choral Society, some 70 or 80 voices strong, gave a series of high-visibility concerts in venues such as Carnegie Hall and Lincoln Center, under the direction of Founding Conductor Vladimir Roudenko. After Mr. Roudenko's retirement in the early 1980s, the musical leadership of the choir was assumed by Vladimir Morosan, Doctor of Musical Arts. Under his direction, the choir of the RCS participated in concerts marking the celebration of the Millennium of Russian Orthodox Christianity.

To mark the Millennium within the North American choral community, the Russian Choral Society sponsored a Russian Choral Festival in August of 1988, held on the campus of Sarah Lawrence College in Yonkers, New York. The Guest Clinician on that occasion was Maestro Vladimir Minin of Moscow, Artistic Director of the famed Moscow Chamber Choir. The week-long series of lectures, master classes, and rehearsals culminated with a gala concert in New York City.

Also in connection with the Millennium, the Russian Choral Society in 1988 sponsored the publication of a series of scholarly editions of Russian sacred choral music—The Monuments of Russian Sacred Music—the aim of which was to make the 1000-year history of Russian sacred chant as well as the works of major Russian composers such as Tchaikovsky, Rachmaninoff, Rimsky-Korsakov, Gretchaninoff, Kastalsky, and Chesnokov, and others, accessible to the Western musical world. With endorsements from famed cellist and conductor Mstislav Rostropovich, Nobel laureate Alexander Solzhenitsyn, and Russian Academician Dmitry Likhachev, and with the assistance of a bequest from Iwan A. Schian, the Russian Choral Society partnered with music publisher Musica Russica to initiate an unprecedented series of editions, which have done much to make Russian choral music accessible to choral performers and audiences throughout the world.

With the transition of the Russian Choral Society to the Russian Choral Heritage Foundation, the essential mission of the organization remains unchanged: to ensure that accurate, authentic sources and subsequent high-quality editions of Russian sacred choral music, as well as that of other Orthodox nationalities, continue to be widely available to performers, scholars, and church musicians around the world. The establishment of the online Orthodox Sacred Music Reference Library is designed to fulfill that mission. We will be grateful for your support and patronage.